It’s that time of year again. Time for me to embarrass myself once again by drafting the worst team in two fantasy football leagues.
I’ve become very good at that despite always picking up the latest copy of “Street and Smith’s Fantasy Football” magazine or “Fantasy Football Index” magazine. Maybe one of these years, I’ll learn that grabbing a copy of one of those magazines on the way to the actual draft is not the best strategy.
I was never very good at doing homework, as I’ve proven in both my fantasy baseball and football leagues throughout the years. You’d think during a worldwide pandemic, with no live sports to cover, that I’d have plenty of time to research what rookie stud is poised for a breakout season, or if Tom Brady is a good fit for Tampa Bay despite being 66 years old ...
Yet, here I sit, two days before the draft writing about it instead of actually studying for it.
Many people ask me, “Why do you even play fantasy football?’ How can you keep track of so many different guys? And why do you want to?”
The answer is simple: Because I have no life, and maybe this will finally be my year to claim our Pro Football Weakly or No Homers Club league titles.
I’ve got plenty of momentum heading into the 2020 season. Last year, I think for the first time ever, I actually made the playoffs in our rugged Pro Football Weakly league thanks to Lamar Jackson’s incredible season and my great drafting skills.
The main reason people give for not playing fantasy football is because they don’t like having someone on their team playing against their Packers or Bears. It makes it difficult to root for them.
I say the solution to the that is to become a Dolphins fan like me.
They don’t seem to beat anybody, so I never worry about any of my players going up against them. In fa ct, I hope they have huge days against my Fins so that they continue to lose and pile up draft picks.
So what exactly is my strategy for my upcoming drafts? This is the part where most readers, who are also fantasy football nuts like me, might want to stop reading. Taking advice from me is never a good idea.
But ... running backs seem to be the top point-scorers these days in fantasy football. Get them early and get them often is key to a successful season. Gone are the days of the three-down back. Guys like Eric Dickerson in the 1980s, Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith in the 90s and Marshall Faulk, Priest Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson in the most recent era no longer exist. The closest thing to them now is Christian McCaffery of the Carolina Panthers—the likely No. 1 overall pick in most leagues.
(Editor’s note: Yes, I realize John spelled McCaffrey wrong. I decided to leave it in as a further warning to you.)
I won’t have the option of picking McCaffrey at No. 1, so I’ll have to settle for the old “best player available” at pick No. 8. I’d love to take Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with pick eight but a) it’s way too early for him to be drafted b) I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of my friends trying to say his name and c) he’s not starting.
As each draft unfolds, I try to fill out my lineup first, which means drafting a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, kicker, defense and a flex option with my first nine picks. I always get the snickers from the peanut gallery at the draft when I somehow feel the need to draft Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker in the seventh round knowing full well most kickers won’t go off the board until the late rounds.
Once I’ve got my starting lineup selected, it’s time to pad my bench. This is where pre-draft homework—or lack thereof—comes back and bites me.
While most of my fellow draftees can rattle off the second- and third-string running backs at Jacksonville, I can’t even rattle off the starter. I thought it was Leonard Fournette, but the Jags decided to cut him earlier this week. Jacksonville, based on a number of puzzling moves in the offseason, is all in on the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes.
Immediately after the draft, I usually look down at my roster and ponder, “What in the world was I thinking?”
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense in Round 9? Former Badger Johnathon Taylor in Round 3? Mitch Trubisky, or anybody on the Bears for that matter?
It’s all a crapshoot, and I know it. Coming unprepared only adds to my ineptness.
Besides, I don’t have time for fantasy football right now. I’m in the middle of my fantasy baseball playoffs!